Born in Rainy River, Ontario, Philip joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 at age 21.
He was assigned to the 166 Squadron of No.1 Bomber Command. In 1944, his aircraft was shot down over the Netherlands. Dutch families around the Oostvoorne area hid Philip in their homes as Nazis searched for prisoners. With the help of the Dutch Resistance movement, Philip was able to evade capture and make the daring journey to safety. He witnessed the celebrations of liberation in Rotterdam and, eventually, returned back home to Canada after the war.